Elite Dangerous: Making your First 100 Million Credits


Elite Dangerous is unique in that there is no leveling system. The only restraint is your amount of credits, and once you have the credits to get yourself that perfect ship, you can do anything you want. For this guide, you’ll be required to have Both Elite: Dangerous and the Horizons expansion.

New Player Friendly

This is new player friendly. You’ll see your first 100 million credits even as a new player to the game fairly easily. The only limitation is your skill at piloting the ship & Surface Recon Vehicle (SRV).

What we’ll be doing is heading off to a nice active part of space to run scanning missions. Tedious, I know, but worth it. I started out flying an Asp Explorer. Three days later, I am in command of a fully fit Anaconda worth 200 million credits. Yes, it’s a beautiful ship. It has both size and sex appeal.

Recommended ship

The Diamondback Explorer is the best ship for newer players to start off with. However, any larger ship should be suitable—Just don’t try this in a Sidewinder!

Why the Diamondback Explorer? It can fit a large Frame Shift Drive for its size, has a large 32-ton fuel bay, and can fit extra tanks plus a fuel scoop to further reduce your dependence on space stations. Add in its light mass, which means less fuel consumed with each jump and more range, and you have the ideal ship for travelling long distances on a budget.


You’ll want to get yourself to a station and start stripping your ship for exploration / long distance travel.

The goal is to make your ship as light as possible without sacrificing fuel capacity. By stripping out weapons and other unnecessary components for the journey, you can further for longer.

  • Hard points: ZERO – Nada – Sell them off, lighter you are the better.
  • Utility Mounts: Heat sinks all the way. The more the better.
  • Core Internals: Aim to fit everything with Class E. If you can aim to fit your Distributor, Power Core and Shift Drive with Class C, B or A equipment if you can. It’s important that you don’t overspend as this ship is intended for a one-way trip, though you can store it for later use if you want.
  • Optional Internals: Fuel tanks are nice, as they reduce the number of stops required on long journeys. A fuel scoop (a good one will allow for fewer stops and is worth the investment). Finally, a discovery scanner—the better the scanner, the longer the range.
  • Livery: Name your ship. It is optional but you might as well, seeing as you’ll be spending the next hour or three with it, depending on how you want to proceed.

Destination & Route

We’re heading to the destination of Quince – Millerport station. This should be somewhere in the region of 550 to 700 light years from your present position. A direct route should take you around 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your ship and fit.

While the availability of missions no longer depends on your rank, long-distance travel is still a great opportunity to raise your exploration rank and make a little money on the side. Buy an Advanced Discovery Scanner, assign it to a fire group, and charge it up in each system you pass through. This is called “honking” (on account of the sound effect), and the data you gather will help raise your reputation with the controlling faction at your destination, which will help jump-start your earnings!

IMPORTANT: Watch your fuel levels, glide near the sun to fuel scoop, fly at minimal speeds while keeping an eye on your heat levels, and use a heat sink if you need to. Be careful, as you only get three charges per heat sink.

Quince – Millerport

Hey, you made it! Hand in any scan data to “Universal Cartographics.” It takes a while to update. While you’re waiting, take a look at the mission board and note that your reputation sucks. That’s okay. We’ll grind that up. There are two types of missions you’ll want.

  • Counter-Insurgency Surface Scan Mission
  • Planetary Scan Job

Once you accept three missions, you won’t get anymore at this location. You max out at 20 possible accepted missions at one time so choose wisely. I’ve personally only seen 15 in a single board in a station, and that was only once during my grind. You can switch between Solo Play and Open Play to refresh the board.

Lock your destination to the planet “Kosmala Rewards,” switch to Open Play (You’ll see why in a moment) and then undock. You’ll want to get close to the planet so your mission status updates. After you receive your automated messages, you’ll be able to lock onto “Scan Request: Building” or “Scan Request: Outpost.” Don’t worry—you only need to scan one of them. Head to the location on the planet. Once you’ve left glide mode, you’ll be slow boating your way towards your objective. Sometimes someone is already on the ground and scanning the objective. If this is the case, your missions will update and you can go back to station to hand in the completed mission. Yes this is intended game play, yes it can be that easy.

Assuming someone didn’t do the job for you. You’ll need to land next to the base, deploy your Surface Recon Vehicle and scan an object. Please do be careful as sometimes they shoot at you.

This is the data point you’ll need to scan. Once scanned all of your missions should be complete and you can head back to the station.

The Numbers, and how to make them better

At the start, you might make 500 to 800 thousand credits per trip due to your currently low reputation. Working up to Allied reputation, you will be looking at around two to eight million credits per trip. You could do this in any ship. I choose to do it in a Sidewinder as it’s the cheapest ship to replace, and fast. Get eight cargo on it, a planetary vehicle hanger, and dump the shields. Remember to empty your cargo after each trip, as some missions require at least four cargo space to accept them.

What I’m about to tell you is not an exploit; this is intended gameplay. However, some players will dislike you if they see you doing it, and may go out of their way to shoot you because of it.

Once you complete your mission, lift-off and then crash. This causes you to get “podded,” or respawn back home in about eight minutes. Assuming you would want a break after an hour, you could do six runs and have 12 minutes to grab a drink. On average, I personally made about 25 million credits per hour, but it is possible to make nearly 50 million credits per hour with this method.

Boosting your Reputation

You can take up the missions that ask you to donate some of your hard-earned credits. If you plan to be here for a while then skip them, for now. If you want to grind as fast as possible, these are a good way to boost your reputation.

Test this guide out and let me know what you think. Does it work for you? What do you plan to do with your farmed credits?

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  • The over use of the word “grind” reminds me why this is a terrible game with little upside.

    June 30, 2017 at 6:37 PM
    • OLGIN Sidrat Flush

      another kid who dosnt like to earn his stuff … if you want something for nothing go play any CoD game.

      November 13, 2017 at 2:48 PM
      • thank you for necro’ng an old comment on a board I barely remember. There’s a difference between interesting grind and repetitive grind. Repetitive grind would be akin to Eve online’ PvE missions. Non repetitive grind are missions that are similar but with name changes and game mechanics in a different order. Few games do this. In fact there was one mission in Skyrim that featured a murder investigation and you had to hunt for clues. This would be great for randomization with different characters and stories so I don’t know why there aren’t more similar missions.

        Apologies for the lateness in the reply, I’ve only just got a stable internet connection.

        November 26, 2017 at 11:01 PM
  • Tedric

    Quince is the quickest way to gain credits and also rank for that faction (Federation I think). Credits are really the only thing that needs to be ground. Faction standing is needed if you want to partake in the politics or want expensive fancy ships.

    Sometimes i found that Millerport was simply unable to generate missions to run. I moved to Jeffries High which gave more, but you have an additional 2-3 minute or so flight to Kamala Rewards.

    30M credits will fit out a max range Diamondback Explorer, with change, don’t forget to have the insurance buyback for anything you fly!

    June 30, 2017 at 7:17 PM
    • Joe Barbarian Tedric

      Anaconda is one of the top 3 fancy ships and requires no faction standings. Its no corvette but it’s still a wonderful ship.

      June 30, 2017 at 9:34 PM
  • Alot

    Yup, definitely written by an Eve player -.-

    June 30, 2017 at 7:29 PM
  • Joe Wagner

    So- what I’m REALLY hearing is we should UA bomb Quince then.

    June 30, 2017 at 11:55 PM
    • Stabby/Elite Joe Wagner

      Might as well. Spent 5 hours there board hopping last night just to make some extra creds but only made 35 mil in those 5 hours. Not worth the time but I’m sure it’ll return soon. It always does! 🙂

      September 23, 2017 at 10:02 PM
  • “Grab a diamondback Explorer” isn’t very newbie player friendly. Once you’ve made a few mill then you’re in a pretty good position to make more money. The Quince mission running scheme is fine for now, but honestly considering how much it’s being abused I’m certain another nerf will come to get rid of it.

    Rares trading is really the only thing that’s stayed consistently fairly profitable in the ‘mid-game’, which is essentially where this guide starts.

    You get different boards in open and private, they tend to refresh every 5 minutes.

    July 1, 2017 at 6:06 AM
  • Why So Serious?

    #TLDR Current status of Quince as of January 2017 in case you’re curious. Expect this to change as soon as the fun police get upset again. I really don’t think Fdev truly appreciates or respects their players. For some reason, it appears some people think that having a job in virtual space should be just as much fun and time consuming as having a job in real space. TEHO, but IMNSHO this is just stupid. Total disrespect to those who spend money earned at real jobs to support their vision.

    I’ve just got this game about 3-4 weeks ago, and discovered Quince once I tired of the lurching start-stop of noobish gains and did some googling. Seems like this has been nerfed again. I’ve yet to receive a scan mission for more than 3 million, and I’m fully allied with at least 2 groups already. However, since I can confirm that it is still possible to earn a type 10 defender in about 3 days of casual play at Quince in solo, during states of civil unrest and civil war, it remains a decent option, perhaps the best, for earnings compared to the rest of the galaxy–cargo hauling and jump-explore scans cannot compare. You will need a larger ship, doing business in bulk to make anything decent in trade, and that’s with the help of sites like Inara.cz and EDDB because Fdev didn’t care enough about players to put a decent trade system in place in the first 2 years of game play.

    For comparison, considering we’re 2 years in, as a new player I had to make about 30 hops away from the bubble to start getting decent scans that hadn’t been taken by others already. I traveled for a week, casually, out about 150 hops from the bubble in an Aspex with my lowly 3A fuel scoop (it was indeed a chore, so don’t anyone dare tell me I’ve not earned anything), and upon returning, turning in my scans netted me 21 million credits. I handed those scans in at Quince, and started making money casually there. in less than 24 hours, doing scans during civil unrest, I managed to net over 70 million more credits.

    You do the math. Hour for hour, Quince has the highest returns that an early-game player can hope to achieve. Check open, private server, and solo boards to fill up your 20 slots at 2-3 milllion each once you start getting the good pay. I’ve read that you used to be able to scan all your jobs at one base in one visit, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. So, here’s my advice to hasten your journey to credit stability:

    1. Use the sidewinder, plan on doing about 6 jobs per run if you can manage it. I don’t bother with shields as dying upon completing a scan is not a bad thing generally. I pay my 3500 creds to respawn in Millerport and get a break. Drive the SRV on the way back straight in between the front and side legs at a 45 deg angle, stop when you hear the beep telling you you’re lined up with the bay, facing of SRV doesn’t matter, board the ship. If you’ve got a few jobs done, you may opt to allow either the turret in the nearby base (if there is one) or fighter (if there is one) to do you the favor of deathspawning you at port to hand in your jobs.

    2. To slow down the use of this mission to farm creds, seems the devs have forced players to use multiple bases to complete a run, which is fine. Each time you lift off and target a new base, after you boost to SC to escape pull of planet, one or more objective points on planet surface will disappear depending on how many of your jobs were completed by scan. Sometimes this will be the closest or second closest base that gets removed. You just need to pick a new objective or deathspawn back at the station and trade off your 3400 creds for a couple mill or more to speed things up.

    3. I’m not sure where the devs set the reset limits, but if you sit outside the base long enough, I believe it will eventually reset and may be targetted again for the next scan missions. This takes too long, so here’s a thought: You can either boost up into orbital flight, then look at your navpoints and select the base you just left again if it has a mission marker next to it (will be reset at that point in my experience), or, if you were fortunate, one of the other base objectives will be less than 300km away. Either way, what this means is that you can just hop up to orbital flight, target your position on the ground through your panel on the left, and land again to do your next series of scans. Each time you lift off, simply target nearest base. By doing this, it saves you having to search for the next base on approach as you’ve already been there. Glide in as close as you can on a 35 – 45 degree angle of approach and drop down to do your next job. You can land within 300m of the place in my experience without dying if you know what you’re doing. Don’t flow over the base no-fly zone if it has a red zone on map.

    4. Jump out in your SRV. Look at base. If you have 2 skimmers, drive to within 100-200 meters and kill them both quickly, then drive up and scan the data point with no worries. If you have 2 turrets, kill them both, starting with the ground defense turret, as it shoots back at your SRV. Then you may be able to scan the data without entering the red zone. If you need to enter the red zone, do so, then run away quickly. 3 drones will come out. You can either hose them or stay out of range and they’ll kill themselves. If you hose them, you should get some bounties, but it’s minor. Very minor. Sometimes a base has nothing guarding the data, rarely. If so, keep targetting this base as nothing should change on subsequent visits for scans. Sometimes a base will also have a fighter nearby. Oh well. Ignore it, get your scan, then feel free to die or don’t. These guys typically are minor threats. Rarely you will get an expensive ship parked, that will even launch fighters at you. Not to worry. If you get your scan and die, you hand it all in at millerport and still come out far better off.

    5. Always keep one expensive ship in storage. Always keep enough creds to pay insurance should the worst happen. Then go out and buy a cheap ship and play at your leisure truly enjoying this game as it ought to be played, without the constant worry that some stupid pirate who desperately wants that tiny bit of gold in your refinery will put you back in debt. Game is only a grind because the devs seem to like the elitist attitude that they’ve encouraged. How anyone could take an elitist attitude about being able to devote precious hours of one’s life to a make-believe world astounds me, but to read what some people write about having earned their positions and ships in the galaxy through hard work and effort proves it can be done. A pity. Life is too short for such BS.

    YMMV. Expect these things to get nerfed again within a month or two. Given the attitude of the developers, I fully expect something will happen to stop the Quince credit stream eventually altogether.

    RANT FOLLOWS*** Consider the brilliance of handicapping players from being able to put a third button in a fire group because they are so worried that it might give someone an unfair advantage. Oh dear. You managed to get yourself into a ship finally that can house enough firepower to alter the fate of worlds, enough crew to put 2 fighters into play at your side, but you must not assign a third weapon button to a fire group because -GASP- that might be unfair to console players with gamepads!!!! *** Consider also the brilliance of restricting players from being able to both multi crew and wing because–OMG a few players might destroy the entire galaxy, at least the way they see it. SERIOUSLY?! If 4-5 players could unhinge your entire galaxy, dudes, you have bigger problems than you realize with this game. I have a large family. We have more than 5 computers. We’ve spent plenty of money on your game. Yet, we can either get together in a wing OR 3 of us can multi crew. You’re so worried about being unfair you’ve been unfair to those of us who aren’t lonely console gamers (not that those two things must go together or that they are negative in any way). If I had understood these things before we bought in, we might not be playing your game today. I’ll be hesitant about spending money on your releases in the future. AND WE ARE MOST CERTAINLY NOT PAYING FOR ALL THE COLORFUL CONTENT BECAUSE OF YOUR ATTITUDE. Too bad really.

    January 16, 2018 at 1:48 PM
  • brandon burns

    Is this still viable? Or has it been patched?

    June 9, 2020 at 3:38 AM